Sorry, we are closed to one-on-one consulting.
I consult one-on-one with authors, small businesses, and publishers. So does my business partner and husband, Mark Griffin. Combined, we have 40 years of experience in the publishing industry. (In fact, we first met through our jobs in publishing!)
If you have questions about traditional publishing, self-publishing, hybrid publishing, literary agents, book marketing, author platform, or any business issue related to publishing, we can cut through the confusion, provide concrete next steps, and offer trusted resources.
We conduct consultations using Zoom, which allows you to join our private, online meeting room from any device or by phone. We record all meetings unless you request otherwise.
What we can help you with
Assessing your work’s suitability for traditional publishing
Advising on book marketing and promotion strategies
Navigating self-publishing and hybrid publishing options
Critiquing your online presence or author platform
Guiding you on best next steps for your publishing career
Looking for roadblocks and explaining rejections—or lack of progress
The issues we address most often
We also have in-depth experience with:
- publishing contracts and agreements
- traditional publishing standards of all kinds
- print book production and manufacturing, both domestic and overseas, B&W and full color
- content marketing strategy for authors, publishers, and businesses
- freelancing business models and best practices
- author websites and digital media strategy
What we can’t help with
- Editing your novel query or synopsis—although we’re happy to review these to understand your project (and we will let you know if they need improvement)
- Reading, reviewing or editing your manuscript or full-length book
- Finding you or referring you to an agent or publisher
- Submitting your work to agents/publishers or managing that process
- Hands-on execution of a book launch—but we can discuss your strategy for one
- In the trenches marketing and publicity work
- Writing or ghostwriting any of your materials
- Copyediting or proofreading manuscripts
- Editing any type of fiction or poetry
However, even if we can’t help you personally, check the resources page for people who can.
Here’s the No. 1 question we get, but it’s nearly impossible to answer
Fiction writers and memoirists often come to us wanting to know the probability of their manuscript securing a literary agent or traditional publisher. Sometimes they say, “Is this project worth my time or investment, or should I just give up?” It is very difficult to answer this question with a straight-forward yes or no, for a few reasons.
- The publishing business is incredibly subjective, and both of us have been wrong many times about what’s salable. Timing and luck can also play a role.
- Nearly every single author we speak with has a significant challenge ahead of them. Ninety-nine percent of authors get rejected by agents and publishers—even those with great skill and talent. So while we can outline the specific or unique challenges your project might face, this doesn’t always help you overcome the rejection that’s likely ahead. Furthermore, we find that our clients have already been made aware of the project’s problems, but are hoping someone will offer a second or third opinion that’s more optimistic. You’ll find that we are realists.
- Whether you can secure a book deal usually depends on factors like how much you’re willing to revise the manuscript as well as your ability to grow as a writer, especially if it’s your first book. That includes you spending time on what is often a years-long process. You cannot pay your way to a traditional book deal or network your way to a book deal. This is one industry where shortcuts do not exist.
- Few manuscripts reach us in a form where they’re ready to submit. Most stories need considerable developmental work even if we think the project stands a fair chance in the market. A good number of writers are unwilling or unable to do this work.
What consulting costs
- Both Jane and Mark charge $300 for one appointment (up to 60 minutes). Most clients—more than 90 percent—get all questions answered, and know next steps, within one hour. The goal is to set you on a confident path forward. If we’ve done our job, it’s unlikely you’ll need to schedule again in the short term, since we include free email follow-up for all consultations.
The price remains the same no matter how much time you need or use. If your situation requires ongoing consulting, it’s still best to start with the initial one-hour booking; our hourly rate drops after there’s an established relationship.
What the fee includes
- Advance review of manuscript samples, websites or blogs, social media accounts, and marketing materials you believe are important to us understanding your situation. However, we cannot read your entire book in advance, provide a critique or edit of manuscript materials, or offer a critical editorial evaluation.
- A video and audio recording of our meeting
- Unlimited follow-ups via email. However, if your follow-up questions require lengthy written responses or cover issues that aren’t straight forward and merit a discussion (e.g., broad challenges like “How can I market my book?,” we will instruct you to book another appointment.
We are consultants, not coaches
Of course, this begs the question: what’s the difference between a consultant and a coach?
- As consultants, we help you understand the market and business of publishing. We’re here to guide you on external factors that affect your work and its success. We can tell you how agents and publishers might react to your work and explain the pros and cons of particular paths to publication. We recommend next steps and help you make the best business decisions based on your career goals or strengths as a writer.
- Coaches typically help you with internal or psychological barriers—getting yourself to write on a schedule, or validating your desire to write. There are also book and story coaches who help you figure out what your book wants to be if you’re struggling with its genre or category. If you’re not sure what to write, or what direction to go in creatively, we’re probably not the best fit for you. Also, if you’re looking for a cheerleader—or general encouragement—a coach is a better choice. We are more likely to deliver the wake-up call or business reality of your situation. While we’re not unkind, we are honest.
Should you book with Jane or Mark?
For authors interested in traditional publishing, Jane is your best choice. However, Jane is also an expert on all forms of self-publishing and can advise on both paths.
Jane also assists emerging and established authors with long-term career strategy and guidance, book marketing and promotion plans, and author platform.
For authors primarily looking for guidance on self-publishing or hybrid publishing, with limited interest in traditional publishing, Mark is a great choice. If you’re struggling to decide what publishing direction to go in, Mark can also advise. As needed, he will consult with Jane prior to your appointment, to ensure you’re being guided appropriately.
Important: before you book
- While you’re welcome to send over things like queries, synopses, or other materials—so that we can understand your project—we do not offer hands-on edits of these materials. If you want a query edit or synopsis edit, we can refer you to other experts we trust.
- If desired, Jane can offer hands-on help with nonfiction book proposals, but this is a separate and more expensive consulting service.
- We do not provide referrals to specific agents or publishers, but we can advise you on the research process. If you’d like to hire someone to help you conduct agent or publisher research, here’s a service we trust.
We greatly respect the investment you’re making when you book a consultation. Part of what you’re paying for is our long history in the industry, in-depth knowledge of the service landscape, and our ability to cut through the noise and help you make the right decisions for your career. Many of our clients are still in touch years after our first meeting, with updates, follow ups, and questions because they’ve come to trust our guidance. Your appointment is not something we see as a one-time transaction, but as an ongoing relationship. We are here to help.
How to save your money
This site includes an incredible amount of free information. If your questions are fairly straightforward, you may not really need a one-on-one consultation.
- Learn how to find an agent.
- Here’s how traditional publishing works.
- Get a 101 overview of self-publishing, plus the distributors and services Jane recommends.
- Understand hybrid publishing.
Testimonials from our clients
We feel like we’ve been stumbling around in the dark for too long and your advice feels like someone turned on a light in the distance to give us a direction to walk. The feeling is one of liberation to have fresh ideas to explore and we’re relishing the opportunity. Thank you for all you’ve done to free up a block that has been existing in our author business for too long. We have a direction and are charging forward with pens and megaphones in hand.
Warren & Betsy Talbot
Hiring Jane Friedman was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done for myself as a writer. I’ve been managing my own author website for (yikes) 15 years, and since I update or add something to it almost everyday, it had become difficult for me to see it with fresh eyes. Jane’s evaluation and advice on some of technical aspects of my (yea, verily) ancient software and several specific, concrete suggestions for improving the design and better utilizing the content were invaluable.
Not only did you understand all my specific issues, but you were so clear on your recommendations and follow-up and gave me all the information I was looking for in knowing which direction I should take. You are organized, very articulate, possess a wealth of important information, understand exactly the situations I described, and followed up with all the sources you discussed with me on the call. You are a gem in what you know and your ability to share your knowledge with others.
Elliot G. Levy, MD
Our conversation was the best thing that happened ever since I embarked on this whole self-publishing ordeal, which is completely unknown and scary (but not as much now, thanks to you). Extremely grateful of your insights and great energy. Real pleasure, how much clarity and peace of mind you’ve given me.
I have attended one of Jane’s workshops and have also consulted with her regarding my book projects. To start, Jane is a great listener and super-organized, making her comments and suggestions well thought-out and practical. More importantly, her insight is invaluable. The feedback she provides is clear, direct and well-tailored to the issue at hand. She helped me tremendously in shaping ideas and next steps for my books and other projects.
Recent books by our clients
Ready to book a consultation?
Note that Jane is often booked 4-8 weeks in advance. Her calendar shows her up-to-date availability; there is nothing sooner and cancellations are rare.